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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  October 22, 2010 12:00am-1:00am EST

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ken buck and sharron angle when they were hit on not supporting veterans, when you see the way those attacks landed like a sledge hammer on both those candidates, why aren't more democratic cdidates talking about this? now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. what if we can balance the budget, have a surplus, save social security, and keep the bush tax cuts? yes, it can be done. the problem is politicians can't do it. >> problems on the economy, as serious as a heart attack. >> no one wants to tackle this problem because they feel they'll lose their next campaign. i'm sick of all of that. >> 13 days before the election, democrats and republicans are in a campaign fury with one goal in mind. fixing the economy, balancing the budget? no. winning. >> i don't know about you, but i'm fired up. get out there and fight for it. >> we can't fix stupid, but you can vote them out. >> give them hell, harry.
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>> democrats and republicans back to old messages. >> a new drive for a smaller, lest costly and more accountable government. >> i'm not willing to borrow $700 billion that we don't have that will then require me to cut investments. >> my kid is not your tm. >> but the real question no politician wants to answer? >> you tell me specifically, what are you going to do to cut -- >> what programs, what agencies are you going to cut. >> so you won't raise taxes and you won't cut spending. >> let me ask you a specific question because i still haven't gotten many specifics from you on how you're going to cut $4 trillion. >> you know, chris, i have to say with all due respect, you're asking a typical political question. >> but that's where the money is. >> all this bitching about the deficit doesn't mean squat because you won't raise taxes or cut spending. neither one. >> ion stead of a real debate on our economic future, we get this -- >> you lie!
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>> rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes, it is a shame! a shame! >> get it from the people? hell no, you can't! >> good evening from new york. i'm lawrence o'donnell. if politicians won't cover the tough budget question, who will? well, how about former politicians? that was "esquire" magazine's idea when the editors asked me to convene a bipartisan panel of experienced legislators to figure out how to balance the federal budget. i said i would do it only if i could get my a-team, my first choice of participants. and so the "esquire" commission to balance the federal budget was born. i joined four former senators in a conference room for three days where we eventually figured out through some painful compromises for all of us how to not only balance the budget, but save social security and to, all of our surprise, maintain current tax rates.
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joining me now, three members of the commission, our only absent member this evening, former republican senator from oregon, bob packwood, who was chairman of the finance committee. with us from missouri, jack danforth, who was also a member of the senate finance committee. also joining us, former colorado senator and democratic presidential candidate, gary hart who served on the senate budget committee, and with me here in new york tonight, bill bradley, also a former presidential candidate and former member of the senate finance committee. there's a lot in this report. i want to begin by giving the audience some of the specific spending cuts the commission voted to cut. it cuts farm subsidies, biofuel subsidy, including ethanol. it cut spending on nasa missions to the moon and mars. it cuts defense spending substantially. it reduces the federal workforce. it uses an alternate measure for inflation, for adjustments for military -- federal and military pensions.
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now, i want to begin with senator hart. gary hart, you were the leader of the discussion on defense spending. tell us how you argued for the commission ending up with the cut of $309 billion in defense spending. >> 15, almost 20 years after the end of the cold war, we are still procuring weapons and producing poor structures that mirror what we used during that korld war period between 1947 and 1991. the problem is, we are not fighting nation state wars again, such as world war i and world war ii. we are today involved in a regular and unconventional warfare that requires smaller units, much different armaments and weapons. and we are going to be, unfortunately, facing those kinds of confrontations for decades to come. what is required is restructuring our military
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forces and our force structure, and procuring different kinds of weapon systems. that is in the national interest. it will also save us money. >> senator danforth, the discussion that senator hart led, as you recall, was not cutting for cutting sake, but actually cutting defense spending in order to have a better military posture in the world. how would you sell that idea to fellow republicans who -- many of whom want to campaign on being strong on defense and see any defense budget cutting as an indication of being weak on defense? >> the enemy that we are preparing for is different now than it was during the cold war. and the cold war, the threat was the soviet union. and the threat was a world war. major attack, missiles, nuclear weapons and so on. now the threat is terror. it is, as gary hart said, unconventional. it's small countries,
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afghanistan, iraq, maybe iran. and the problems that they pose. but it is not the sort of global confrontation that the soviet union presented us with. >> bill bradley, if you were running for president again and imagine a world where gary hart was your campaign manager, as he was in a presidential campaign at one time and he comes to you and says here's our idea for defense spending. let's cut it by $309 million and argue that we will be in a stronger defense posture after doing it, would you get up there and go with that? >> based on where we are in the world today? no question. i mean, this is one of those moments when we can cut spending and have a stronger defense. i think that's what we've done in the commission. >> senator danforth, we were not tasked with the objective of fixing social security solvency for the next 75 year, but you and your fellow commissioners quickly got all responsible on
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me and went ahead and did it. principally by gradually increasing the retirement age, adjusting the calculation of cost of living increases. those are both politically dangerous things to do. opposed by some republicans, by some democrats. what is the case for doing that? how would you convince republicans to take the risk of doing it? and how would you get democrats to go along? >> well, everybody is talking about the national debt, the deficit, the need to do something about it. i hope that that's not all cheap talk, because the fact of the matter is that by the year 2025, social security, medicare, medicaid and interest on the national debt will consume 100% of federal revenue. there will be nothing left over for anything else for national defense, for homeland security for the national institutes of health, for the national parks, the prisons, anything else that the federal government does.
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nothing will be left over. we'll have to go abroad. we'll have to go to china to borrow money for our national defense. so the fact of the matter is that social security, medicare, medicaid, and taxes must be on the table. some combination of them. we can debate what that combination is, but they must be on the table. the interest on the debt is something that we have to pay. there's no choice on that. but if you don't do something about social security, then we have very, very few options left. so the question is, how can we do it, how can we do it in a gradual way, in a fair way. but i think it's really important for all of the people of our country to understand that there is no simple way to deal with the problem of the debt. you can't just do it by waste, fraud and abuse. >> senator bradley, in the increasing of the retirement age which is a real hot button
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issue, you suggested there be some accommodation for those workers who are involved in hard labor, that raising that age should involve some adjustment for that. what do you have in mind? >> i think narrower expansion of the disability program would allow those who work hard labor jobs would allow people to get access to money through disability. and therefore they would be able to offset the social security age going to 70. i think the point that also has to be made is we're not talking about social security being at 70 next year. i mean, according to what we've suggested, it will be at 70 in 2056, which gives people a long time to adjust. >> senator heart, there are democrats now in lobbying organizations and democratic side of it who are trying to get democrats to swear to not, as they say, touch social security benefits in anyway, to keep social security benefits off the table.
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that would make the provisions that were dealt with in this report impossible for the congress. what would you say to democrats who are considering taking that pledge of not doing anything on social security benefits? >> well, they're selling out future generations. senator danforth has stated the case eloquently. we don't have any choice. in the two months since we made these deliberations, i've heard at least half a dozen serious discussions in the media about balancing the budget. every one of them said we will have to raise the qualification age. now, if you talk about benefits in terms of how much people receive, we didn't reduce that. we just lengthened the period of time they have to wait until they receive those benefits. but this is -- this isn't a discretionary operation we were involved in. this is a matter of national urgency urgency. >> senator bradley, some
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democrats are really digging in their heels about any kind of movement on social security at all, really pushing it off the table. and one of the things you will hear from some is, if we just let those bush tax rates go up in the top bracket, we can then cover social security. but that would violate the principles franklin roosevelt had in founding it, which is that social security is a self-funding operation, and once you move nit that direction, you're starting to move it into the territory of the general budget, aren't you? >> well, social security is a pact between two generations. this would not be financed internally if you raised other taxes. i think the important point on social security, and quite frankly on defense, is that we've gotten ourselves internationally into a position where we're dependent on foreign capital, whether we like it or not. the chien neerkz the european, the rest of the world, the japanese, have financed our deficits. and unless we take some action to show them that our long-term
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structural deficit will decline, it's quite possible that they will dump their dollars and we'll end up with higher interest rates and end up with a much deeper recession than we're already in. i look at this and say the only way you're going to show long-term structural changes in the deficit is by addressing things like the defense budget and social security and health care. in this bill n this deliberation, we chose to not change president obama's health care bill, to leave it as-is. and i think that was a wise thing to do. >> senator danforth, there's one question that goes to malpractice reform. the commission takes its stab at malpractice reform and there's a presumption that it will have some affect on the federal budget.
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even if only symbolic is that kind of compromised by democrats toward republicans on malpractice reform? the kind of thing you have to have in a package like this in order to pick up republican support on other items that republicans aren't enthusiastic about? >> i think what's going to happen, what should happen after this next election is the president should convene a meeting, probably at camp david and get the leaders on both sides in congress together and throw the key away and say we've got to come up with something. i think it's going to be a very hard thing for people in both parties to agree to. we did do something on the cost of health care. and that is we recommended getting rid of the exclusion from taxes for insurance benefits. and i think that that will reduce the cost of health care. i think that will be more difficult for democrats to swallow than the so-called medical courts.
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>> and it's a serious tax provision. it raises a lot of money to simply treat health care benefits as taxable income. senator bradley, there's another big revenue raiser in there, which is an additional dollar of gasoline tax in this bill. the last time a gasoline tax went through the senate, you will recall the pain that we had in raising it 4.3 cents which we finally were able to do in 1993. it hasn't been raised since. raising it $1 is a bold stroke. what would your argument be for doing it? >> well, there are multiple arguments. one is that we're paying a big tax now, but we're sending it to opec. we would be keeping it inside this country. next, it would reduce the carbon footprint in our country, because it would reduce gasoline use. and if we, at the same time, we raise the gasoline tax -- remember, it's not going to be $1 until 2020.
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if we raised it gradually over the next eight year, at the same time, we required the automobile companies to produce cars that got double the mileage, which is what -- >> which is part of the recommendation that you have. >> which is the recommendation. just to the mileage that exists in europe today, you would find americans spending no more money on their gasoline than they spend now because they would have a more fuel efficient car. we would be able to reduce our carbon imprint. we would be able to ensure our energy security and our national security. on one level, it's a no-brainer. and people who don't face up to this are really on all of those fronts saying, we don't really have an idea what to do. >> jack danforth, what do you say to your republican friends who just will not be able to believe that you would be willing to sign on to a gradual $1 increase in the gasoline tax? >> i don't like any kind of tax
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increase to tell you the truth. i think what we did was come up with a compromise, the nature of the compromise was to cut back on spending and to raise revenue. now, if you're talking about taxes, there are different kinds of taxes. some forms of taxation are more destructive to the economy than others. i think a consumption tax is less destructive to the economy than, say, raising the marginal rates of income tax. or the corporate tax. so i think that this is as taxes go, i think that this form of taxation is less damaging to the economy than other possibilities. >> okay. we'll continue our conversation and talk about how at lack of bipartisanship in d.c. is keeping us from solutions like these. also ahead, president obama is work on closing the enthusiasm gap with women voters. chuck todd join mess. and later, the assassination of dr. tiller. rachel maddow joins me to talk about her extensive
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investigation as to how and why the murder took place. ♪ every day, it's getting closer ♪ ♪ going faster than a roller coaster ♪ ♪ love like yours will surely come my way ♪ ♪ a-hey, a-hey-hey ♪ every day, it's getting faster ♪ [ male announcer ] at&t and blackberry have teamed up to evolve the smartphone. business, meet fun. fun, business. at&t. rethink possible.
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the government fees budget crisis solved. jack danforth, gary hart and bill bradley continues. and later, with 13 days till the election, what has gotten better for the democrats? they come to us for help. at ge capital, we've been financing taylor guitars for over eight years, helping them build a strong dealer network. bringing music to people... i like that. ♪ ♪ [ bob ] i didn't know you could play. i didn't either. ♪ it'll cost a fortune to insure you. nationwide insurance, we need a freeze-frame here. let's give parents a break, right ?
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let the discounts they've earned be passed down to their teens. save mom and dad up to 25% versus the competition. we'll call it the nationwide family plan. here you go, and there you go. unfreeze ! keys ! savings ! ♪ nationwide is on your side ♪ road trip ! >> and we're back with the "esquire" commission to balance the federal budget. rejoining me to discuss the nearly impossible politics of balancing the budget are former
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senators bill bradley, jack danforth and gary hart. bill bradley, the group agreed to a couple of principles. one, spending would be limited to 20% of gdp. there were some of us who were willing to see spending be higher of that in relation to gdp, but the compromise of democrats and republican, that's where it ended up. that's what's true of all of these items, is that they are compromises between democrats and republicans. we just heard jack danforth, not crazy about the gasoline tax, but willing to do it in the full set of these compromises. there are things in here that everyone involved had some strains with. one of the risks in cutting spending at this point in a recession, or in the crawl out of a recession is what is that going to do to the recession? how did the commissioners come down on that? >> we decided no cuts would begin till 2013. we hoped the economy would be coming back, speaking for one person. i think there ought to be a very
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big fiscal stimulus early in the new year. in order to get unemployment down in america. if we get unemployment down, it will cost the federal government less and people will have more money to spend, and they'll hire more people to pay for the goods that the individuals will have to spend on. i think it was a very wise decision for us to say we're waiting until 2013 for any spending cuts. >> senator danforth, i think probably your proudest point in this package is that in the end, the commission was able to keep tax rates where they are now. otherwise known, condemningly on the democratic side of the world as the bush tax cuts, including the bush tax rates for the top tax brackets. would that alone be enough to bring more republicans into signing on to a package like this? >> it would help, but the general position of republicans
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is they don't like taxes. in any form. clearly, i do not agree with my friend bill bradley that the failed stimulus program of the past should be followed by yet another one, but increasing taxes during a recession would be a disaster. if you want to hurt the economy, one way to do it is to increase the marginal tax rate. so again, the form of taxation is really important if we're going to do that. it's going to take a lot of discussion by republicans and democrats, and i think that this is going to be a real test to president obama after the election. if he can convene both party, the leaders in both parties at some place like camp david and say look, we're not going to come out of this place, we're not going to conclude this meeting unless we've come to some sort of reasonable
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agreement in getting the national debt under control. >> senator hart, i don't think anyone is going to accuse you of joining a package that includes the bush tax rates because you desperately want to protect the wealth of the super rich, but will you -- do you think you will be needing to teach some of your fellow democrats the art of compromise that creates packages like this? >> well, first of all, i have nothing against wealthy people or wealth for that matter. so it's not that i have any animosity towards wealthy people necessarily. when they mess up the economy, that's something else. but what we accomplished, we did not by finger pointing. i think president obama and most of my party's leadership has been willing to compromise on a whole range of things but they have faced an opposition party that has made a policy position
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early in '09, virtually lock step to oppose almost everything the administration has done. and so i don't think the chance of the camp david meeting is going to happen, given that now. but, if i may, i didn't get a chance to add on the gasoline tax. we're putting 40% to 50% of our national defenses in the process of protecting oil imports from the persian gulf. that's mostly naval assets. but we're also fighting our second gulf war, and oil has a lot to do with that. if you include, internalize those costs into a gallon of gasoline, we are paying $6 to $7 a gallon for our gasoline. so the best way to get off of that is to eliminate our reliance on persian gulf oil, and we can do that by that gas tax. >> senator bradley, the controversial bush tax rate, i
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for one, never having run for office like you guys am happy to solve every problem through taxation if i could, and go for much higher tax brackets. when babe ruth was hitting home runs, the top tax bracket cut in at $5 million of income. but what you and bob packwood discovered over time was no matter how high those rates were, there were so many loopholes and deductions in the code that no one was actually paying those very high rate, 70%, sometimes 90% going back in time. and that was the impetus behind the 1986 compromise that reduced rates dramatically and closed loopholes. is there anything wrong with democrats trying to keep tax rates down, which became the final objective of this committee? this commission? >> i think our objective was to balance the budget and we found ways to do it, in which the income tax system maintained a 35% rate, but was a progressive income tax system. we made it more progressive for
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the people in the upper income brackets, thereby saving billions of dollars. so the income tax system is more progressive. the rate stays where it is now. i think the principle is more firmed, that's equal income should pay equal taxes. i think that's fair. >> off worked more than most democrats on taxation. do you think there's something wrong in democratic rhetoric on taxation. is there something in it that makes democrats sound a little too eager to raise taxes? especially the top bracket piece? >> well, this is a debate first held in 1980 and i did the amendment and used all the language. here we are, it's the same thing all over. i think another way is to go at that tax base where all of the tax loopholes essentially drain the federal budget by giving special benefit tax cuts to very
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narrow groups. and every time you add one of those, you put pressure on the rates to go up. if you reduce the rates, that puts pressure to close the loophole loopholes. >> bill bradley, jack danforth and gary hart. i've had so much fun being in the room with you guys. >> mr. chairman! >> it was fantastic. thank you all for your time tonight. >> thank you. >> coming up, president obama is working to create tea party levels of enthusiasm among democrats. can he do enough in the final days of the campaign? and later, some parents are angry about these photos of the stars of "glee." they're calling it borderline pedophilia. that's tonight's "rewrite."
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ahead on "the last word" in the final weeks before the election, the president is adding campaign stops. polls show a lot of races tightening. chuck todd joins me to talk about the democrats' chances on november 2. and later, an msnbc premier, the assassination of dr. tiller. rachel maddow explores whether tiller's killer acted alone.
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with just under two weeks before the election, focus has shifted to the all important voting bloc of women. recent polls show women are frustrated over the economy and
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seem to be pulling away from democrats. so no surprise here, the white house released a report today from the national economic council on how the president's policies are helping women when it comes to job, education and health. joining me now, nbc news chief white house correspondent chuck todd. according to the new nbc/wall street journal poll, there's a clear gender enthusiasm gap among voters. 6 2% of men say they are more enthusiastic about voting this year compared to 51% of women. what does the white house need to do to close that gap, and if they were to somehow close that gap, would that enthusiasm go to democrats in this election? >> well look, there's been a gender gab in american politics for 20 years. it really did get exposed a lot by bill clinton. women support democrats in greater numbers than men, pretty
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much no matter the level of race when you go on the federal level, for house race, senate races and presidential races. but when you look at the enthusiasm number you're going whoa. well, no wonder in the two weeks before the election, the white house rolling out this hey, women, look at what we've done for the economy. because that is among their base problems. it's african-american, hispanics, young voters. married women with children are more swing voters, or even slightly lean republican as a group. it ear many single women and also working women that democrats are doing better with. >> and when you say slice up women, what you mean is, we need
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to segment women in our polling analysis into various categories beyond just the word women. okay, got that cleared up. chuck, what are the races that are tightening. where's the surprise good news for democrats right now? >> i think right now it's pennsylvania. you talk to republicans and they say pat toomey took his foot off the gas. republicans need a little extra help when they're able to pull it off to do races like that. because look at the sort of, where all of the get out the vote money is, lawrence. you know this in politics. all of that is in pennsylvania. all of the resources being brought to bare in pennsylvania. the combination of the president helping in philadelphia and out there.
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he's already been there once. he's going there the final weekend. that tells you a lot about how they feel pennsylvania is going. and then throw in all the labor money going in there. and suddenly, james carville likes to say that pennsylvania is, it's pittsburgh in the west, philadelphia in the east and alabama in the middle. well, the t is how they slice up pennsylvania. toomey has always been doing well in the t. now the democratic machinery is kicking in and that's what's really closed that race. >> the president was in seattle today, come -- campaigning. listen to what he said about the budget. >> if we're going to get serious about the deficit, then we're going to have to look at everything. entitlements, defense spending, revenues. how do all those things fit together so that we can have a sustainable budget that invests in the things we absolutely need for our long-term future. and we stopped funding some things that's nice to have, but
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we can't afford. it's listening when you talk about republicans talk about out of control spending then you ask them, well, what would you cut? then there's this deafening silence. >> we had three former senators who did join a group deciding what they would cut in the federal budget. i just heard the president say that he's willing to consider entitlements. there are democrats out there saying absolutely will not think of social security in any way. it's hard to imagine after this election how the federal government, how the senate in the house is going to be any more capable of dealing with the tough questions than they are now. >> it is -- absolutely right. because you're wondering where is the center, because you're going to have a republican party that's going to have to mind the base. you're going to have to have a
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democratic party, the centrists who probably lose in the house. so you have a more partisan house. so finding the center -- and it's not just finding the center. as you know, nobody seems to think getting 50% of what they want is a victory anymore. it's all or nothing on these things. but you know, i've been fascinated watching what cameron is doing over there great britain. everybody talking about when it has to be on the table is entitlements and taxes. one thing you don't hear about is defense. that's what happened in defense. cameron put defense on the table. that's going to be interesting. does that get put on the table? when you look at the budget, it's basically entitlements and defense that eat up all of these things. and the question is, are these members of congress going to be willing to give up an air base in their state? good luck with that.
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>> we just heard gary hart making the case for defense cuts in order to provide a better and stronger defense. that's not an argument the democrats have tried yet. we might be hearing it from barack obama next year. chuck todd, thank you very much for working late with us late tonight again. was the murder of dr. tiller part of a larger conspiracy by anti-abortion groups? rachel maddow joins me. >> and some parents are upset with photos of the "glee" cast, calling them too racy. here's the truth. at allstate, safe drivers can save forty-five percent or more on car insurance. protect your home with allstate, too, and you can save an extra ten percent. dollar for dollar, nobody protects you like allstate. and you can save an extra ten percent. being a leader means moving fast. across the country when the economy tumbled,
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rachel madow joins me to discuss the say discuss the assassination of dr. killer. some parents say "glee" pictures are over the line. this parent tells those parents
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it's time for them to get themselves and their children ready for the 21st century. did you know a problem in your heart can cause a stroke in your brain? it's true. an irregular heartbeat, called atrial fibrillation, or afib, can make a blood clot form, here, in your heart, that can break free and go straight to your brain where it can cause a serious stroke. having atrial fibrillation gives you a 5 times greater risk of stroke than if you didn't have it. strokes that are twice as likely to be deadly
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or severely disabling as other types of strokes. if you, or someone you care for, have atrial fibrillation, even if you're already taking medication, there are still important things you'll want to know. for a free interactive book call 1-877-904-afib, or log onto afibstroke.com. learn more about the connection between atrial fibrillation and strokes, and get advice on how to live with afib. and with this valuable information in your hand, talk to your doctor. call 1-877-904-afib today. time for tonight's "rewrite." parents across the country are outraged that the actors of "glee" are scantily glad on "gq" magazine.
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the outrage comes from the parents television council, a cult that was invented to complain about tv and pretend that the tv remotes don't have channel selectors or buttons that turn the machines off. the parents television council says the photo shoot boreds on pedophilia. the presumed objects of the -- pedophilia are 24 and 28 years old. they add, quote, sadly, this is just the latest example of the overt sexualization of young girls in entertainment. what they meant to say there is this is just another example of overt example of sexualization of actresses in their late 20s. before the pictures of the "glee" cast, we had this.
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marilyn monroe was about 20 years old. then there was madonna at 20 in 1979. here's heidi klum in a photo taken 13 years ago when she was 24. the parents television council is at some point going to have to realize that the censorship battle is lost, for better or worse, 21st century children are constantly surrounded by sexual imagery on television and on line. the parenting challenge on that front is not to hide that from children, but how to prepare them for understanding and dealing with human sexuality. the parents television council says that all this sex in the media is, quote, it isn't good for families. but without sex, there would be no families. sex is a very, very good thing. like air travel. and yes, both do have their risks. and children, as well as adults need to understand those risks.
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in the homes of the parents television council members are all sorts of things that are dangerous to children. steak knives, whiskey, keys to the car, occasionally angry dogs. good parents control their children's access to the dangerous things in their homes, and the parents who think the tv remote control is dangerous can control that, too. the 20-something-year-old actresses in "glee" should be very proud of the lessons they're teaching teenage girls about the complexities of decisions involving sex. decisions every teenage girl is going to have to make on her own, without her parents present to control those decisions, as sarah palin found out the hard way. what the sex-shy parents television council should be saying is thank you, ryan murphy, for creating "glee" and delivering to us each week examples we can use to caution
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on may 31, 2009 at 10:03 a.m., dr. george tiller was in the foyer of his wichita, kansas, church, handing out the church bulletin when he was shot once with a handgun and fell dead on the floor. the veterinarian who tried to revive tiller would testify that within seconds, tiller had stopped breathing. his story is now being told in a new msnbc documentary, "the assassination of dr. tiller." >> 911. >> somebody just came in and shot somebody at our church. dr. tiller was shot.
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>> why did you kill him? >> the lives of those children were in imminent danger. >> i was meant to have a cause. i was meant to have a purpose. >> mr. tiller set himself up as the abortion provider for all late-term abortions. >> some people despised him obviously and some people thought he was a great humanitarian, provide agnes service. >> the anti-abortion movement had one mission in wichita, kansas -- shut down dr. george tiller's clinic by any means necessary. >> their approach was to wear him down and to peck at him from every angle. >> find out where the child killer lives. find out where his wife has her hair done. >> harassing the staff, patients come into the clinic. >> he was a vile, despicable human being. he was a murderer. >> out there somewhere is one
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soul who is listening to all of this and wants to be the person that writes the wrong. >> if someone didn't stop him, the babies were going to continue to die. >> and scott roeder thought he was the redeemer. >> yes, the familiar voice of the narrator in that clip is, of course, our own rachel maddow. the documentary debuts monday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern in rachel's time slot. joining me now, herself. rachel maddow. some stories are news and some are history. when did you realize that this moment in the national abortion argument was history worth documenting in this film? >> i didn't know instantly that it was worth covering in this way, but as soon as this murder
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happened, it was a sunday, i was home in western massachusetts. i was taking a shower, and susan said i just saw a news alert that a doctor got killed in kansas. i'm standing in the shower an i thought, that's dr. george tiller. i paid enough attention over the years to the fight over abortion that i knew that this was -- if a doctor had been murdered in kansas, i was pretty damn sure before learning anything else about it that it was this, it was dr. tiller being assassinate the finally. there was a culmination of a campaign against him. there just isn't many things like that in america. yet, that was the pattern in the early '90s. we talk about it this as politics but it is violence. it's a pattern we've experienced before and the prospect that we are about to start this pattern
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with yet more murders is important. >> now, part of why you knew it was dr. tiller is he was shot before, in 1993. something that i didn't realize until looking at the documentary. why did he keep doing this work? >> he was a very, very resolute guy. he was determined to not be intimidated. eunderstood very early on in a very holistic way what was going on. he didn't take it personally. he didn't -- he didn't think that what was happening to him was some sort of persecution of him as an individual. he understood it as a political campaign that was intended almost to culminate in violence. so the anti-abortion extremists put out a wanted poster with his photo on it and his description and detailed information about how to find him. and sure enough, somebody came along and put two bullets in him. i think it was two bullets that
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went through both arms. it was a lucky shot. every time somebody came after him, he would come back and say what i'm doing is legal, you can not intimidate me, you can not make me go away. he would come back bolder than ever. >> he had lot of enemies, drchl . tiller, including one nearby in this business, who has a very loud microphone with an audience of millions. let's listen to what he had to say. >> dr. george tillner kansas, known as tiller the babe killer. dr. george tiller known as killer the baby killer. the notorious tiller the baby killer. i wanted tiller the baby killer saying i can make more money killing babies now pop okay. so i'm the fascist, i'm the bad guy, i'm the problem. not tiller. no, he -- no, no, no. he's a good guy. and if i could get my hands on tiller, well, you know, can't be vigilantes. can't do that.
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it's just a figure of speech. >> now, those are all thing he is said before the assassination before dr. tiller and he did say, can't be vigilantes. >> i mean, words have consequences. there's a very important reason we don't police words in this country. instead of policing words in this country, we count on people who have big megaphones to consider the consequence of their words and therefore use their words responsibly. sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. >> what would you say to bill o'reilly in terms of going forward in this dialogue? >> i don't really have anything to say to bill o'reilly. >> i thought you might not. you know what i have so tai to him. he's not working at 9:00 p.m. on monday. he should watch this documentary. rachel, thank you very, very much. >> lawrence, kind of you, thanks. >> we'll be watching with you on monday. sunday when you appear on "meet the press."

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